The Golden Triangle may be close to landing its next major retailer

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- “It’s kind of dry… Basic… Boring,” said a Columbus shopper out and about Thursday.

“Slim. It’s really slim pickings,” said another shopper.

This is just a tiny sample of how consumers in the Golden Triangle describe the retail landscape.

WCBI asked Kyle Cofer, the project director for the Retail Coach if Northeast Mississippi will ever get a Target store, “I always tell people this, if a retailer or restaurant -Target for example- is only going to open up 10 or 15 new locations this year then the Golden Triangle, North Mississippi where I’m from l, we’re competing against everybody all over the country for those 10 or 15 locations. It’s not just the state of Mississippi.”

Kofer’s company is hired by cities across America to recruit retailers and restaurants.

Cofer says companies deciding where to move next is a data-driven process.

“We’re able to run cell phone studies. So basically go to specific areas, shopping centers, retailers, and restaurants and draw a boundary and say, ‘ Okay, we want to look at the past 12 months. Where are these consumers coming from based on cell phone pings within that specific location.”

There’s a handful of boxes a community must check off before a big-name retailer decides to move in such as income, day-time population, and traffic counts.

“They’d like to know what a trade area population is. So a trade area means -how far are you pulling consumers in to shop in your community on a regular basis outside of just the community population? Those individuals that live there on a daily basis.”

With Fed Ex’s new site and the development LINK bringing in more industry, an empowered workforce can be enticing.

“Restaurants, for example, McCallister’s. They want to see a very strong daytime population because want to see 65 to 70 percent of their business during the day. So they want to know who’s expanding workforce-wise. What companies are in town? What hospitals are close by? How much catering can expect to do?”

We also asked Cofer if it will take more or less than five years for another major retailer to make its way to the Golden Triangle.

“Right at 5.” Incentives can play a large role and help speed up the process of landing a large player as well. I would probably say right at 4 to 5.”

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